There are words we would rather skirt around.
Every day the sky becomes an excuse,
or appears to consist of an arrangement
of ducks on sloping cobbles,
that thing you talked of last night.
There was nothing to be said, for example,
which might not offend at this table.
We were only hypothesising, weren’t we,
about a society of amputation,
the whole bloody foreign situation?
At the turn of the road – rage
between drivers who, moments ago,
had never encountered each other.
From here, from this angle,
the phrase ‘Everything is wrong’
behaves like a cliché, precisely.
It contains a would-be full stop
and an effortless change of gear:
the bottle reached for from the mat
and fingerprints on the neck
just above the label.
So say it, go on: beyond those willows,
how easy it might have been
to dissolve whatever was happening elsewhere
in the drawn-out fade of a sunset.
Tom Phillips 2010